Alonzo Powell

Former Giants hitting coach Alonzo Powell takes new job in Japan

Former Giants hitting coach Alonzo Powell takes new job in Japan

SAN FRANCISCO -- As Farhan Zaidi and the rest of the front office started the search for a new manager, the coaching staff was given time to look for new jobs. Hitting coach Alonso Powell ended up across the ocean, but his new job will still be a familiar one. 

Powell will join the staff of the Chunichi Dragons, a Japanese team based in Nagoya. He played for the Dragons for six seasons, hitting .355 in one of them and won three straight batting titles while starring in Nagoya from 1992-97. Powell is reportedly already working with the team:

The Giants had kept quiet about Powell's status, but they are expected to have nearly a completely new staff under Gabe Kapler, who was hired last week. Ron Wotus will return as third base coach, but he was the only holdover to attend Kapler's press conference. 

Bullpen coach Matt Herges has already joined the Arizona Diamondbacks as pitching coach and former bench coach Hensley Meulens has been offered a job by the Marlins. Meulens was also thought to be a candidate for the Mets bench coach job, and he has not officially been announced as a staff member for the Marlins. It's unclear where pitching coach Curt Young, assistant hitting coach Rick Schu, and first base coach Jose Alguacil currently stand.

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Powell, a Bay Area native, came to the Giants after the 2017 season with the task of getting an aging lineup to hit for more power. There were success stories, and Powell was popular within the organization, but he was unable to squeeze much more out of a veteran group. Powell came from Houston and brought some new methods to the Giants, and they're expected to go even further in that direction. The addition of Kapler, along with former Cubs executive Scott Harris, indicates the Giants will dive even deeper into analytics. 

What Farhan Zaidi's manager search means for longtime Giants coaches

What Farhan Zaidi's manager search means for longtime Giants coaches

SAN FRANCISCO -- Hensley Meulens and Ron Wotus, two longtime Giants coaches, find themselves in an odd situation. 

Both will be part of the first round of interviews for the team's manager vacancy, president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said Tuesday. But both could also find themselves looking for entirely new organizations in six weeks or so. 

Zaidi met with all the coaches for one-on-one exit interviews and informed them that any staffing decisions will be put on hold until a new manager is in place. That man, whether Meulens or Wotus or somebody from the outside, will decide who stays.

"It'll kind of be at the new manager's discretion to pick up those conversations once he's in place," Zaidi said.

Bochy's coaches were told that they're free to "pursue other opportunities in the interim." Zaidi noted that this search might go on a while, and he doesn't want holdovers to be waiting around as other vacancies are filled. 

The entire staff had contracts that went through the 2019 season and there was uncertainty throughout the season about whether any would be back. It is common for a new manager to keep a couple of people in place, but for the most part, new staffs are brought in with a new leader, and much of the decision-making is based on previous relationships. 

The concern Giants coaches have is that so many of them have been in San Francisco for so long that they don't have as many of those existing relationships elsewhere. An external choice for manager might not really know a Meulens or Wotus or Jose Alguacil, etc. 

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Those three, along with Shawon Dunston, are the longest-tenured coaches. Alonzo Powell and Curt Young are relatively new and could be in the most precarious position since a new manager generally hand-picks his hitting and pitching coaches. Assistant hitting Rick Schu and bullpen coach Matt Herges are also in limbo, although Herges is considered by many in the organization as the most likely to stay, given his previous connection with Zaidi as a Dodgers minor league coach. 

The Giants already have let go of eight pro scouts and several minor league coaches. Zaidi said department heads are in the process of deciding whether there will be changes on the amateur scouting side and elsewhere in the front office. 

Giants celebrate hitting coach after he completes radiation treatment


Giants celebrate hitting coach after he completes radiation treatment

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Giants were a few minutes late getting out on the field for Thursday's workout. The clubhouse was closed for one of the many meetings the team holds, and this was the most important one yet. 

Hitting coach Alonzo Powell informed the players that he had completed his 40th and final radiation treatment for prostate cancer. Powell had been getting treatment five mornings a week in Peoria and then making the long drive to Scottsdale to work with players. 

"He's been through a lot," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He said, 'Hey, I'm going to beat this' and he's had such a positive attitude. You guys know Zo, it really is amazing that he kept up his energy through this."

Powell was diagnosed last January, a few weeks after the Giants tabbed him to be their new hitting coach. At times there were restrictions last spring, but he never had any serious issues during the season and has been a regular presence on the field this spring. There was no sign that Powell was even dealing with anything until Thursday, when the clubhouse erupted with cheers just before players took the field. A cake was brought out to celebrate the occasion.

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Bochy said Powell never talked about what he was going through every morning. He just showed up and got to work. 

"It's a lesson we all could learn," Bochy said.